types of plywood

10 Types of Plywood (Descriptions with Pictures)

Plywood has proved to be an affordable choice for different woodworking projects over time. For beginners, knowing that there are several types of plywood currently available could be overwhelming. Untrained eyes could easily choose out of superficial factors. This is the reason for the need to learn about the types of plywood, including other important features of every type. Unsure of the type of plywood that you need for your next project? Let us take a closer look at these plywoods. 

1. Softwood Plywood

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As suggested by the name, softwood plywood is made out of several softwoods, including cedar, redwood, or pinewoods. Even though these types of woods are usually pitted against the stronger hardwoods, it might be surprising to know that softwood plywood is also used for heavier woodworking projects. This includes laying down-home subfloors, roof sheafing, and home exterior frame sheathing. 

2. Hardwood Plywood

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Hardwood plywood is made out of wood veneers from maple, oak, walnut, and birch woods. Typically, this type of plywood is composed of seven or more layers, explaining their sturdy nature. Manufacturing hardwood plywood requires gluing veneers at the exact depth and angling to support heavier woodworking projects. This type of plywood is often used for projects that require durable frames such as wood casings, musical instruments, sports equipment, and furniture making. 

3. Lumber Core Plywood

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Lumber core plywood is designed especially as a 3-ply type. Generally, it is constructed by laying down a thick wood core, gluing two thin layers of wood veneers on every side. The exterior surface is usually made of hardwood, like maple, oak, and birch woods. The interior layers are constructed using strips of different softwood that are glued together, creating a durable wood slab. 

4. Exterior Plywood

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As implied by the term, exterior plywood is designed for exterior woodworking projects. They are created and glued with the use of weather and water-resistant adhesive. High-quality exterior plywood makes durable wood frames that will last for decades. Exterior plywood is under the multi-ply category, with several types. 

5. Aircraft Plywood

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Aircraft plywood is regarded as the highest-grade and the most durable plywood currently available. It is specifically constructed using hardwood types that are not vulnerable to too much heat and moisture, such as mahogany and birch woods. They are generally constructed using thinner wood veneers, keeping them more workable and lightweight. As such, they are ideal for building aircraft, boats and rafters, and furniture that is designed for carrying heavier loads. 

6. Marine Plywood

What Is Marine-Grade Plywood?

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Marine plywood is one of the most commonly available plywood despite its being high-grade. The term ‘marine’, reflects on the grade of this plywood. It is not water-resistant, as you may think. It is marine-grade, made using waterproof adhesives. What makes it different from others is that it does not have knotholes. It is usually made out of larch or firwood, making it sturdy and durable. It is also manufactured without chemicals, but raw, making it not resistant to molds, mildew, and rot. They are usually seen used for exterior structures such as gazebos, decks, benches, and plant boxes. 

7. Structural Plywood

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Structural plywood is also termed sheathing plywood, thanks to its durability in both building and framing. Manufacturing plywood requires the use of the most waterproof and the strongest glues. They are usually graded as C or D. Despite their durability, they cannot achieve a higher grade because they may only become expensive for common construction. 

8. Overlaid Plywood

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The name of this type of plywood comes from its nature of having an overlaid surface, offering a visible wooden finish look. The way it is constructed is similar to making regular plywood, gluing together wood veneers with waterproof adhesives. What makes it different, however, is that they are featured in either medium or heavy density, since wood veneers are being bonded in high pressure and heat processes. 

9. Flexible Plywood

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As suggested by its name, flexible plywood is designed for bending and curves. It is often seen in curved portions of construction frames, as well as in making furniture. It is constructed using a cross-grained central ply and adorned with thicker cross-grained plywood on each side. Overlaid wood veneers are then added to create a shinier front surface. 

10. Construction Plywood

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Construction plywood is usually referred to as an umbrella term for several products. It is used to divide structural and non-structural panels in which MDF core ply, particleboards, and foam boards, with several others, are also included. Non-structural boards may appear soft, but they are amazingly sturdy, just like all other types of construction plywoods. 


The next time you go to the nearest lumberyard or home improvement store to purchase plywood, knowing the different types of plywood help a lot. There is a specific type of plywood that will be painted or stained. Note that there can also be a substantial difference between a sheet and another. As such, it is recommended not to hesitate to pull out and examining the sheets before buying. If you find this article helpful, feel free to share this article. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 



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